We have sincere gratitude for our home and the opportunity to renovate a fixer-upper. We sought this lifestyle, and we own that decision! While we are thankful for our story, we also recognize how we could have entered into the phase of “renovating newlyweds” more intentionally. You know what they say about hindsight! But maybe our hindsight will be your vicarious insight–and save you some headaches!
Throughout our experiences renovating as newlyweds, we have learned the importance of acknowledging our individual strengths + weaknesses, and letting this guide the distribution of work between the two of us.
Matt and I had been together for five years before getting married, but all the same, marriage was new territory. And renovating our own home was new territory. Throw the two together, and you’ve got a lot of new. (And plenty of overwhelming!) I had to remind myself sometimes that the goal wasn’t to win some nonexistent super-spouse award. Just as Matt and I had learned to identify the qualities we each bring to the relationship, it was important to name our strengths and weaknesses in renovation. I came to recognize that we were best as a team, carrying the load together…even in this.
When it comes to renovation life, naming your strengths and distributing work accordingly is a game changer. At least, it was for us.
When I’m working alone, I prefer to tackle the items that show progress quickly–there’s just something wonderful about crossing multiple items off a list in a short amount of time! But when we’re working together and Matt’s making quick progress behind the scenes, I feel free to settle into the almost meditative focus on tiny details. While Matt’s paint-rolling large sections of wall, I feel free to tediously tape and paint the edges. While Matt’s picking up debris and vacuuming floors, I can slowly paint the risers and treads of a stairway, literally one step at a time. Working alongside Matt alters my work preferences, and discovering this allowed me to plan accordingly–which also made our renovation experience more enjoyable!
And then there are the things I know I’m just not great at and don’t even want to bother with, whether I’m working alongside Matt or not…
Offer me money to drill screws through window-treatment brackets, and I’ll turn you down. I despise it, and I get grumpy every time I drop a screw (which, unfortunately, seems to happen a lot!). But I can mark the locations where those screws belong, no problem. I can also drive pilot holes just fine, without a restrictive bracket making an animal out of me. It turns out Matt’s pretty great at navigating those brackets, so we can distribute that task in a way that saves us both time and energy (and from my insanity!). I learned to let go of the tasks that were just better left in Matt’s hands!
You don’t have to do it all. In fact, you shouldn’t. Your partner is better at certain tasks than you are, and vice versa. Take advantage of the fact that you’re a team, and distribute the work in a way that feels most comfortable for each of you! Sure, there will be times where you’ll have to do something neither of you wants to do anyway, but you can get creative with this and even learn to have fun with it.
It would take some practice before we would fine-tune our communications and contributions to this new stage of life. But it made all the difference in our attitudes and approaches to an immense amount of work!